Five Ways Traffic Lights Consultation

Council's Five Ways Traffic Lights PlanAt last!

The Birmingham Council is looking into
placing traffic lights on parts of the
Five Ways interchange.


The implementation of traffic lights was receiving consideration around 2003 when the Metro tram-line extension along Broad Street terminating beyond Five Ways was also under consideration. The Metro proposal postponed the traffic lights and then both stalled!

The local headache to drivers is the entry onto Five Ways island from all radial routes and this has grown much worse in recent years.

This is, in part, due to  the increased traffic from Hagley Road round to Islington Row and onward to Bullring. That apart, Hagley Road is an immensely important arterial route into and out of the city centre and neglecting to implement an optimised interaction with local traffic at Five Ways has caused a major headache for all drivers no matter where they are coming from.

The Consultation

Your observations and yes/no agreement to a partial signalisation plan of Five Ways is now sought by the Council. You have only until 22 July to submit your opinions on the plan.

Attached is the Consultation letter which appears to have been sent out to an unknown section of house occupiers.

This image of a letter is not terribly helpful to those of us who have not received it in the post. Instead you can find the official details and Online Survey…Click here where you can easily give your views.

How to decide on the plan’s merits

So, below are my ideas of how to pass comment on the proposals.

One perhaps has to be a little selfish and put on blinkers and comment on your own use of the roundabout.

How do you decide whether the traffic lights as positioned in the drawing will make your journey via Five Ways better than now?

Unless you are a traffic expert you may wonder why there are no traffic lights proposed at two of the routes into the Five Ways island.

Firstly, the two radial routes without  their own traffic lights are Broad Street and Harborne Road. There is no explanation of this so you appear to be left to make your own suppositions.

So, trying to enter the roundabout from these routes will be the same take a chance when there looks like there’s a gap affair.

Will the traffic lights further anticlockwise provide sufficient a time/space for vehicles waiting on these routes to safely enter the roundabout?
Or will the current behaviour (in my observation) of the general population to jump red traffic lights at both the start and end of their traffic light sequence make entry worse?

Secondly, using the other entry routes may be hampered by controlling traffic lights a few yards further clockwise round the traffic island after entry.

Linked Lights, have for decades offered a solution to multiple traffic lights on a roundabout, but there is no mention of these in the proposals. Why not?

My Conclusion

I would suggest that the criteria for us to reach a valid opinion on the proposals have been omitted because:

  1. the mathematical models to establish their validity are not available, nor are the exploratory results which may need expert interpretation
  2. the Council has already decided what is the best configuration and the Consultation is just information for citizens to confirm (or ignore!!).

Having said that your  concerns about the proposals and, perhaps, those I have outlined above in “How to decide on the plan’s merits” are worth mentioning if you feel they can provoke further consideration by the planners.


Article by Geoff Caine



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